Abstract

Behavioral Based Safety (BBS) processes focus on individual behaviors in the workplace that are at the very root of a high percentage of work-related injuries. Once the critical behaviors have been identified, the BBS process involves an observer/coach using positive behavior modification techniques to change employee behaviors. As the percentage of observed safe behaviors increases, the injury rate should decrease. It is important to incorporate ergonomics into a BBS process because a high percentage of the total work-related injuries in many organizations are due to "ergonomic-related" issues. Also, a high percentage of ergonomic solutions rely heavily on employee behavioral choices. This paper covers various techniques for incorporating ergonomics into a BBS process.

Introduction

Behavioral Based Safety (BBS) processes are powerful tools that companies are incorporating into their safety & health programs to reduce work-related injuries and associated costs. They are typically implemented after a well thought out and implemented S&H program has been functioning for a period of time. Although BBS processes have been around for several decades, recent years have seen a tremendous growth in their success. The authors are pioneering the effective adaptation of these powerful behavioral modification processes to the field of ergonomics.

What Is Behavioral Based Safety?

BBS processes focus on individual behaviors in the workplace that are at the very root of the majority of work-related injuries. Once the critical behaviors are recognized, the BBS process involves communicating this information to the proper individuals and then demonstrating how this behavior is critical to the individual in a positive manner. The persons communicating the information must be well trained in BBS methods in order to constructively "coach" employees. When properly done, the coach of the process, the individual whose behaviors are being observed by the coach, and coworkers all recognize the importance of this behavior and feel positive about adapting their behavior so that the risk of injury is significantly reduced. The general theory is that as the percentage of observed safe behaviors increases, the injury rates decreases. BBS practitioners have demonstrated this relationship time and time again.

Behavior Based Safety is a tool that can dramatically reduce injury rates, having a significant impact on the bottom line. In most situations, a realistic target is a 25–50% reduction in the injury rate per year. In addition to a reduction in injuries, improved teamwork and communication are also highly beneficial side effects. When properly implemented and maintained, a BBS process can have an outstanding return on investment. It is the type of process that changes the organization's safety culture forever.

This content is only available via PDF.
You can access this article if you purchase or spend a download.